In recent times, websites like Facebook, Blogger, and Myspace have become an excellent source for ICBC to investigate claimants. When you post something on Facebook, Blogger, and Myspace or other similar host websites, the world can look at what you have posted. For example, you may wish to mention that you went on a trip, hiked a mountain, went skiing, enjoyed socializing with your friends, etc.
ICBC, their investigators and their defense lawyers regularly do Google searches on claimants and if you have got anything posted on the web you can be rest assured that ICBC will get that information.
Imagine if ICBC gets some photographs of you doing an activity and then uses it in court against you to say you are not injured? Imagine if ICBC starts interviewing people that went to an event which you described on a website? Imagine if you talk about getting drunk with some friends? Imagine if you post something that may not be socially acceptable?
On some ICBC files, it has been established that ICBC or their investigator have actually been accessing the website by inventing a friend who then contacts you for access. ICBC then thoroughly searches the sites, looking for photographs, notes, blogs, etc. The rumour has it that ICBC has specifically hired staff whose job is to search the internet for claimants. Their purpose is to find photographs of a claimant in situations that could be damaging to the case in front of a judge or jury (eg. drinking or being drunk at a party, engaging in contact or other sports, traveling to far off destinations for vacations.) As well, ICBC looks for notes where a claimant has talked about the case, how s/he is feeling, what s/he will be doing next weekend, and so on. Generally, ICBC looks for anything online that will hurt your case.
By using websites and posting personal information, you are giving ICBC a tremendous advantage to look into your life and check on what you are doing. ICBC, if the information is favourable, will use it to discredit you at trial.
When posting anything on a website, make sure that you think about the ramifications of somebody from ICBC or the defense counsel finding out about what you are posting.
The safest thing is to not get involved whatsoever in these websites while you have an active ICBC claim.
If you currently use sites like Facebook, we recommend that you shut them down for the duration of your case. As a minimum, we advise that you use the maximum privacy controls available on each site to limit viewing of photographs of yourself and refrain from discussing how you are feeling, or any details about your case. We also recommend asking your friends to remove posted pictures of you. Remember that nothing is truly private if it is online, and that everything online is accessible to anyone with a computer.